In 79 AD, a volcano in the Gulf of Naples known as Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the city of Pompeii under tonnes of ash. For centuries Vesuvius had been considered extinct and had been covered with vineyards, farmhouses and luxurious villas. The eruption was so sudden and violent there was no chance for the citizens of Pompeii and the surrounding areas to escape.
Amazingly, the city of Pompeii hadn’t been completely blown away and was rediscovered around 1,500 years later. Because the city was buried so quickly it remained remarkably well-preserved and it’s still one of the world’s most popular archaeological sites today.
Pompeii is an easy excursion from Naples or Sorrento, or a long day trip from Rome. The site is quite large and you’d need at least 2-3 hours to see a good chunk of it, maybe even an entire day if you’re a real history buff. If you do plan to spend a full day there I recommend visiting outside of summer – it’s scorching hot and there is very little shade. Come prepared with plenty of sunscreen and water!
Sadly, the site is in urgent need of restoration with the number of visitors and lack of upkeep taking its toll. A two-year restoration project is currently underway and hopefully will help to save Pompeii for future generations.